Wednesday, February 25, 2015

the self love battle

Self love is a real battle for me.

It has been for years and I think it always will be in years to come.

I have days and small moments where I feel it but generally I spend most of my time hating myself.

Like, really hating myself.

Not hating the way I look or anything like that.

I don't waste my time wishing I was taller or better looking etc.

I know I can't do much to change the way that I look.

I accept that.

It is hating who I am.

I look in the mirror every morning and fail to see any good.

I only see my weaknesses and not my strengths.

My mind replays all the years of criticism and abuse.

It reminds me of comments from family that hurt deeply.

From years ago to present time.

Family has been such a heartache and sorrow in my life.

Just recently my younger sister got married and nobody in the family told me.

I am guessing everyone was there except me.

It hurt.

It hurts deeply that this is the way family relationships are for me.

I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like to have a nice family relationship.

What it would have been like if one of my parents hadn't sexually abused me.

What it would have been like to have a family member believe me.

What it would have been like to have a family member who actually wanted to help me.

How it would have been like if another child was abused and I wasn't the only one.

Every pain and sorrow in my life can be linked back to that event.

That first night of abuse.

That horrible evil act.

It has separated me from my whole family because they chose to support him and not me.

From then on I became the enemy.

I have been told that the family got together and voted.

They decided to support him and not me.

I mean...Why couldn't they support both?

No matter what I did from them on it was never good enough.

Think about it - what woman and mother who believes her husband over her child would continue to love and care for that child as if nothing happened?

It is not possible.

In that mothers mind every day is the reminder and thought that her child has been sexually active with her husband.

The relationship is never the same and the child then becomes the enemy.

I grew up in a home as the enemy.

It was a horrible way to be raised.

I grew up with a lack of kind words or care from my family on this topic.

It has only ever been about how it has affected them.

Nobody has ever hugged me and said...we are so sorry this happened...

We are here for you...what help do you need....

No matter how much you try to pretend that everything is alright.

Even as a young know.

You know deep down that something is wrong.

Deeply wrong.

I don't think I will ever recover from being raised that way.

It is still with me today.

I don't feel pain or hurt about it anymore.

Which I know doesn't make sense in a way.

I have worked a lot on forgiveness.

But...the words, the images, the thoughts...they will always stay in my mind.

They will always keep circling through my mind.

I remember as a 15 year old having a bath.

I lay back to wash my hair.

As I was washing my hair, I opened my eyes to see my step father standing over me taking pictures.

Of course I was completely naked. I was horrified.

Then I remember the pictures were developed at the local chemist.

I still remember my mother and family looking at them.

I don't have the words to describe the shame I felt.

I fail to understand why nothing was done to help me in any way.

I have no words. It is the ultimate parenting failure in my eyes.

Failing to protect a child from sexual abuse when you know it is happening.

If you have no idea...that is different.

So, from these experiences to today... it affects me and always will.

Every morning I feel like I can never measure up.

I know it is a lie and not true.

But, it is ingrained in my brain and no matter what I do, I can't get rid of it.

Most days I am good at not connecting with it but some days I am simply too tired.

So I continue to battle each day to find something good.

Just one small spark of good.

Some nights I will be up late.

Just trying. Trying to find that one spark of good.

It might be....

You hung all the clothes on the line instead of using the dryer
You made dinner and everyone ate it!
You made it through the whole day without cancelling an appointment
You made someone smile today  ....   or

You simply made it to the end of the day
You got out of bed when you didn't want to
You survived your mind and you are still here....

I am still here and I am still fighting this self love battle.

Don't worry...

I will continue to fight it for as long as I can.

Some days I just get tired.

You know. You just get tired of the fight.

We all have our fights in life and we all get tired.

I am just sharing mine in the hope that it helps someone else keep fighting.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Start small with 'baby step' health goals

The reason I started really, really small with my baby step health goals and plans was because mentally and emotionally I couldn't cope with anything more.

I tend to get discouraged if I can't see some type of result right away and I knew that by having a baby step plan that I could celebrate small victories on a regular basis to motivate me.

I needed my goals to be very simple so that I could believe and have hope that I could achieve them.

I was already struggling with the basic every day routine in my home and family life and the thought of adding extra difficult activities to help improve my health seemed too discouraging.

So I went small and gave myself the gift of time to achieve them.

Often we set these crazy big goals in life, set out full of enthusiasm to achieve them and fall short in the first couple of days.

Then we give up and never achieve them.

I knew I needed to take better care of my health and decided to start small and simple.

So I wrote out small baby step plans to help me get outside and to get moving.

Below is an example of some of my 'baby step' plans:

Plan 1:

1. Walk a lap in the back yard
2. Walk 20 laps in the back yard
3. Walk 50 laps in the back yard
4. Walk 100 laps in the back yard
5. Walk 1Km out of the house in public
6. Walk 3Km out of the house in public
7. Walk 5Km out of the house in public
8. Walk with a friend
9. Walk 10Km in one day
10. Try running in public (distance doesn’t matter)

Plan 2:

1. Run 100 m
2. Run 200 m
3. Run 300 m
4. Run 400 m
5. Run 500 m
6. Run 600 m
7. Run 700 m
8. Run 850 m
9. Run 1 Km
10. Run outside in public

Plan 3:

1. Get a blood test
2. Create a music playlist
3. Run 1.25 Km
4. Run 1.5 Km
5. Start the Couch to 5K App
5. Run 2 Km
6. Run 2.5 Km
7. Run 3 Km
8. Start the Whole30 eating plan
9. Run 3.5 Km
10. Run 5 Km

One of my favourite places to run - in the forest above!

As you can see my baby step plans are simple and pretty boring really!

I stayed focused on each goal and kept trying until I made it happen.

It is through being consistent and not giving up that I have been able to reach my goals.

Plus of course, the fact that I love ticking off items on my baby step plans!

I have found that by keeping my health goals simple and small that I have been able to find success.

I hope it inspires you to write out a few baby step plans...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

the hashtag game

I am so blessed to have all of these children in my home.
Some days I stand there and stare at them and can't believe they are all mine!

We have some hilarious conversations in our home.

Having three teenagers in my house means I get to have fun playing games with them that relate to technology that my younger children don't quite get yet.

One of the games we love to play is the #hashtag game.
Kind of a fun way to have a difficult conversation.

Normally in our house they happen late at night when we are laying in bed yelling from room to room. Which makes it way more funny than it normally is!

In case you don't know what a hashtag is: it is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the hash character (or number sign) #. A hashtag allows grouping of similarly tagged messages and also allows an electronic search to return all messages that contain it.

A hashtag is used a lot on twitter and more and more on facebook.
I am @sevencherubs on twitter by the way!

So in our house the hashtag game might play out like this:

Daughter: I need new shoes
Me: #dreaming
Daughter: #desperate #need
Me: You have enough. #blessed
Daughter: #sob #ifyouloveme
Me: #firstworldproblem
Daughter: #heels #fashion #cute
Me: #getajob

End of conversation!

Of course, we do have normal conversations in our home but I find with teenagers it is a fun way to lighten things up every so often.

We also love watching Jimmy Fallon and the hashtags that he shares on his show are hilarious.
We have had fun using some of his suggestions in our conversations.

My kids are very quick witted and it really comes out when we play the hashtag game.
So fun!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kitchen buffet Chalk Paint Makeover

There have been 2 items on my 'One Day I Want To Do List' for a long time:

1. Makeover and paint the kitchen buffet I have in my dining room and
2. Try Chalk Paint.

So recently, I finally found the time and energy to make both of those items listed above happen.

Together. At the Same Time. So excited!

All thanks to Katrina because I won a Chalk Paint giveaway on her blog!

So here is what my kitchen buffet looked like before:

It is a very dark colour and I have had it in my dining room like this for years.
I use it to store food on and it is very practical for my home.
You can check out how it fits in HERE.

In giving it a makeover, I was really attracted to trying out Chalk Paint because you don't have to sand back the wood at all, you simply paint right over it any colour you want!

So I decided to go for a big change and picked white because I love that look.

I found the Chalk Paint very easy to paint with and it dried very quickly. I gave my kitchen buffet about three coats because I really wanted to cover up the brown underneath.

I also added in a coat of a grey colour just around the edges and on the drawers to stand out when I sanded back the edges to roughen it up a little.

I am really happy with the way that it turned out. It was all a very easy process.

All I had to do using Chalk Paint was paint it!

I am still undecided on the drawers and will probably paint those white to match the rest of the buffet in the future.

Below is how it currently looks in my home:

I have been slowly adding extra furniture and decorations to my home as I go along and am pleased with the final product.

We have a smaller house at the moment and it helps me a lot to store as much food and extra kitchen supplies as I can in the buffet.

Thank you so much Katrina! Such a blessing for our home.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to organise school uniforms

With seven children at school, my school uniform system needs to be simple and very organised.

It can get very crazy in our home with the school uniform schedule that we follow involving formal uniforms and sports uniforms that swap and often need to be worn on the same day.

So for me, what works best is having all of my children's school uniforms in the same place.

Quick and easy access for me to put school uniforms away and also for my children to get dressed in the morning. It saves them looking all over the house for school items.

We have previously tried having uniforms in their bedrooms but it became too hard for me to keep track of who needed what uniform for what day.

I picked up a cheap plastic stand from K-Mart for around $10 and I keep it in my laundry so I can easily wash uniforms and hang them away all in the one place.

I hang up all of the different school shirts, skirts, shorts, jumpers and jackets.

One the bottom of the stand is where I keep the school socks.

My system for school socks is very simple and saves me so much time.

I have one basket for High School socks and one basket for Primary School socks.

I simply wash the socks and throw them in the basket according to age.

Then my children get socks out of the basket and they find the matching pair that they want.

I don't have time to match up socks.

There are many other things I would rather do with my time.

My children seem to always find the socks they want and have never complained about this system.

It works well for us with a large family.

I hope it helps you think about what might work well in your home.